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Boy from Nowhere: A Life in Ninety-One Countries Hardcover – Oct 25 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 25 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1459701682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1459701687
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #341,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Fotheringham did not fall into the category of those who wrote history but some of his stuff certainly influenced history. An example that comes to mind was his wickedly cruel, colorful but accurate saga of Joe Clark's botched world tour shortly after he won the Conservative Party leadership in 1976. The Foth's description of lost underwear, walking into bayonets and inane conversation with peasants created a devastating first impression, picked up by the rest of the media that Clark never fully recovered from.

(Literary Review of Canada 2011-12-01)

Fotheringham is a storyteller, a dancer, a lover of women. He lunches well, dines better, and remembers every detail. You could toss 'Who's Who' off the CN Tower, and not drop as many names as he does in this book... An agreeable way to spend a few hours.

(Maclean's magazine 2011-11-07)

There's a good deal about the fundamentals of the business: booze and sex. (Shane McCune The Globe and Mail 2011-11-20)

During his quarter-century as Maclean's back-page columnist, Dr. Foth, now 79, was indisputably the country's most popular political columnist - a deft phrase-turner and pomposity-skewer...

(Toronto Star 2011-10-23)

Born in Hearne, Saskatchewan, in 1932, Allan Fotheringham has had a distinguished career. Dubbed "Dr. Foth," Fotheringham graduated from the University of British Columbia and has worked for numerous news organizations, including the Vancouver Sun, Southam News, The Financial Post, Sun Media, the Globe and Mail, and most notably as a long-time columnist for Maclean's.

His career has taken him to many places on almost every continent as a correspondent and allowed him to meet many renowned personalities, from Robert F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Brian Mulroney to The Beatles, Pierre Trudeau, and Nelson Mandela. For ten years he was a panellist on the popular CBC-TV show Front Page Challenge, and he's won many awards, including the National Magazine Award for Humour, a National Newspaper Award for Column Writing, and the Bruce Hutchinson Life Achievement Award.

Time once described Allan Fotheringham as "Canada's most consistently controversial newspaper columnist ... a tangier critic of complacency has rarely appeared in a Canadian newspaper."


"What Canadians lack most is the ability to laugh at themselves, and Dr. Foth has filled the gap. He set a cheeky new style in journalism that has never been equalled. Tilting against the prevailing winds of Canadian politics is his specialty and humour, his weapon. He remains neutral ― he attacks everybody. At Maclean's he occupied the prestigious back page with grace and guts for twenty-seven years. Allan Fotheringham was never replaced nor can he be."
― Peter C. Newman, Author of When the Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada

"Allan Fotheringham is a unique personality. He has been an unforgettable force in Canadian journalism and a forceful player in the public life of our country. We are friends, but that didn't make him less objective."
― The Right Honourable John Turner, Canada's Seventeenth Prime Minister

"As a chronicler of our times, Allan Fotheringham had rare gifts. He combined humour and courage, a capacity to regale and impale. Full of kiss and vinegar, he was. The sun shone from his fingertips. The wit, the mirth, the sabre ― they're all here in a story of a life and then some."
― Lawrence Martin, Globe and Mail Columnist

"The Boy from Nowhere became the Man from Everywhere, from Moscow to Moose Jaw, anywhere there was a story to tell, people to meet, and political absurdities to unmask. Foth did more than invent the back page ― he has the last word on that national species known as Canadians."
― The Honourable Patricia "Pat" Carney, Former Senator and Conservative Minister

"Allan Fotheringham ― sometimes he's right, sometimes he's wrong. Often he makes you laugh, often he enrages you. But under all circumstances he never leaves you indifferent. It makes for quite a life!"              ― The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Canada's Twenty-First Prime Minister

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Dr Foth's wit and wisdom shines through this roller coaster ride through an amazing life . What an adventurous tale he spins about his prairie childhood, his travels and loves, the journalistic highs of fame and fortune, the adulation and the adversity, - the ups and downs are all there for the reader to share, and to ponder how one guy did it all. Way to go Allan. Here's to the next 20 years!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a witty, highly entertaining history of Allan Fotheringham's career as a journalist, columnist and, most important, a penetrating and hilarious critic of the political foibles of our nation. Anecdotes, some close to the line, confidences, exposes from political life told with verve and style. A must read if, like me, you are a political junkie with a wierd taste for Canadian history.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 6 2012
Format: Hardcover
I often wonder how the modern Canadian politician would have survive the deliciously sharp and devastatingly wicked satire of Allan Fotheringham if they had lived during his day. Not very well I suspect. Dr. Foth's writings is definitely old-school Mencken-style journalism, founded on the quick eye to detect a significant flaw or weakness in the opponent's character from which to exploit a bigger story. For the first time, we get to hear Fotheringham's version of events as he reviews the highs and lows of his much ballyhooed career as a prominent Canadian journalist. His story is a colourful trip down memory lane for all us political junkies and early baby-boomers who grew up during the Cold War. Coming from virtual obscurity during the heart of the Depression, Dr. Foth made his way into the hearts and minds of Canadian keen on reading his latest irreverent appraisals of their national leaders. His creative turn of phrase, with witticisms such as 'Lotus-land' and 'Excited States',was able encapsulate the mood of the nation as it contended with the gigantic forces like nationalism, federalism, continentalism and internationalism. His means to this end consisted of learning about the greater world in order to help his little world get bigger. Over seventy-nine years, there are numerous occasions where the author, either as a newspaperman, syndicated columnist, or TV celebrity, rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, the powerful and the stylish as a means of understanding how they ticked. There are no shortage of valuable insights and lessons to be gleaned from the wise or the fools in Fotheringham's life. Never for one moment does he regret the close calls, the embarrassing moments, and the unexpected reversals. What unites this book in a common theme is the enormous amount of fun he has had in living such a rewarding life. Lots of laughs here, especially his reminiscence about Joe Clark.
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Format: Hardcover
Have not seen such an entertaining book of this sort in years. Once I started it, I just could not put it down. A great combination of political inside stories, personal tidbits and comment on what life is all about. Written with humour and real life thrown in. After all, it is his life. I would recommend it to all ages. 5 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
It's refreshing to read about Allan's life, his many deep connections to family and to the world around him, in such a straightforward style. He is a thoughtful observer of his own life, having spent a lifetime observing others. It's a fun and informative read just like his back page of Maclean's
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